Monday, January 31, 2011

20 Questions Part 1

My responses to this article in O Magazine:
20 Questions That Could Change Your Life
Finding the answers starts with posing the right questions—and Martha Beck has 20 to get you started.
By Martha Beck

1. What questions should I be asking myself?
" It creates an alert, thoughtful mind state, ideal for ferreting out the information you most need in every situation. Ask it frequently."

So, this question is for use in various situations. It reminds me of lesson planning. When I think about a project and the information I want my students to understand I think about what questions they will have. I think about past students and where they ran into trouble and I think about the students I currently have. Basically I ask myself questions as if I were the student.

2. Is this what I want to be doing?
" Ask yourself many times every day if you like what you're doing. If the answer is no, start noticing what you'd prefer. Thus begins the revolution."

"Doing" usually makes me, and probably others, think "job" or "career." That's not necessarily what this question means to me. What about when I'm looking in the fridge and I'm not really hungry or I'm staying online past 10 pm? Those are definitely times I should ask myself this question. Another great moment for this question is when I'm losing my temper with my kids.

3. Why worry?
" Worry rarely leads to positive action; it's just painful, useless fear about hypothetical events, which scuttles happiness rather than ensuring it."

My game is "What's the worst that can happen?" When I answer that question, I don't worry so much.

4. Why do I like {cupcakes} more than I like {people}?
Feel free to switch out the words in brackets... But forcing "virtues"—trying to like people more than cupcakes—drives us to vices that offer false freedom from oppression. Stop trying to like the things you don't like, and many vices will disappear on their own.

How's this one: Why do I like sleeping late more than being productive in the morning?
My answer: I am productive in the morning when I have to be. When I don't have to be, let myself enjoy sleeping late. Works for me!

5. How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it?
" Maybe you know you're here to create worldwide prosperity, a beautiful family, or one really excellent bagel. If your impressions are more vague, keep asking this question. Eventually you'll glimpse clearer outlines of your destiny. Live by design, not by accident."

I like the last sentence. It reminds me of my attempt at meditation last night. Meditation is about leading the mind instead of letting the mind lead you. I've always been a go with the flow gal, but I've done what I've wanted as well. I want my family tree to grow and flourish and not be ridden with disease and despair. My example to my children and that which I teach them can be passed on to their own children and so on. Disease doesn't have to plague families!

6. How do I want to be different because I lived in this world?
" What experiences do you want to have during your brief sojourn here? Make a list. Make a vision board. Make a promise. This won't control your future, but it will shape it."

I want to be involved and I want to enjoy the experiences I have. I think I'm doing that, but I can always do more and join more. Change keeps you "young" and I have had a lot of changes in my life. I plan to keep them coming.

7. Are {vegans} better people?
"Again, it doesn't have to be vegans; the brackets are for you to fill in. Substitute the virtue squad that makes you feel worst about yourself, the one you'll never have the discipline to join, whether it's ultra-marathoners or mothers who never raise their voices. Whatever group you're asking about, the answer to this question is no."

I kept this entire quote intact. The answer is no! Vegans is actually a really great fill-in-the-bracket for me because, as you know, I cook a lot of vegan food and eat vegan most of the time. BUT I'm not vegan. Nope. I eat eggs and goat cheese and sometimes salmon. I still think of myself as vegan, though, because I prepare so much vegan food for my family.

Another good one: Are older, wiser mothers better mothers? Or, the one from the quote: Are mothers who never yell or spank better people? No and no. I do the best I can and I am ALWAYS pushing myself to be better, to be more patient, to be more understanding.

8. What is my body telling me?
" The body knows better. It's a wise, capable creature. It recoils from what's bad for us, and leans into what's good. Let it."

My body used to tell me it was sick. I finally listened and continue to try to do so. It's not easy.

9. How much junk could a chic chick chuck if a chic chick could chuck junk?
"I believe this question was originally posed by Lao Tzu, who also wrote, 'To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something.'"

I can ALWAYS get rid of things. I usually have a bag or box of things to donate sitting by the front door. I like knowing what I have, especially when it comes to clothes and shoes. If I don't wear it, don't like it, if it doesn't fit right, I get it out.

10. What's so funny?
"Adults tend to put this question to children in a homicidal-sounding snarl, which is probably why as you grew up, your laughter rate dropped from 400 times a day (for toddlers) to the grown-up daily average of 15. Regain your youth by laughing at every possible situation."

Ha! Truthfully, giggling and joking around is one of the most endearing and annoying things about little kids, especially in a classroom situation. I do love cracking up with my own children though. I also find teenagers thoroughly entertaining and I do chuckle a lot during my work days.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Famous anonymity

My in-laws took my girls to Baltimore Oriole's Fan Fest yesterday. They got a couple signatures on their baseballs and had a fun time. S will tell you she prefers the Orioles and over the Ravens and doesn't understand why she should support both when she really doesn't like football. Truthfully, I'm with her! Shhh. Don't tell anyone. I wear purple to church often and people assume I'm a fan and I'm showing my support. Really, I just like purple and it looks good on me.
Here's where my father-in-law is mentioned in a totally anonymous way in The Sun:
"The optimism was evident in the long line of fans that snaked around the Convention Center on a chilly morning long before the doors had opened. It was evident inside as well as one fan wore an Orioles jacket that included the years of the team's three World Series championships and a label that read, "This spot reserved for 2011."
He's the "one fan" with the "jacket." Pretty cool.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Regina Spektor - That Time Live (Bonnaroo 2010)

Remember that time when I told you I like this chic? I really, really do.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A little message to Chuck Todd

This morning's off-the-cuff comment about Robert Gibb's pastel pink tie not being allowed in your truck was inappropriate. I don't believe you meant it to be homophobic or gay-bashing. I understand that males in our society have been raised to be macho and pastel pink hasn't fit that bill for some time. But, you're on TV and maybe saying that truck=manly and pastel tie=sissy is not the message you want to send. I enjoy your work on MSNBC and I think the people that work for the network are mostly trustworthy and hard working. Also, Gibbs did have an appropriate joke in pointing out how casual jeans are. Come on, with a tie? Maybe with an oxford and a sweater next time. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Plant Blood

I've been drinking my fill of the delicious sunshine-filled blood of plants. Inspired by Kris Carr and her newest book, it's been so great to have the energy that green juice gives me. No more 3pm crashes. It's been WONDERFUL! To show support for Kris Carr and also to bask in her glow, I went to see her on her book tour stop here in Baltimore! It was very surreal to see her in person. Her vlogs are such real portrayals of her, that seeing her in person is akin to watching a vlog post. But then I got to speak to her and thank her for stopping in Baltimore and I got my book signed. Yay! She signed it Peace, Love and Veggies. I didn't bring my camera, so no pics to put on facebook, but it wasn't about that. I was so happy just to be there and excited to get my book signed that I was teary-eyed during her talk. She was so enthusiastic and a great speaker.

I've been bringing mason jars of green juice to work with me and sipping throughout the day. Here's a post about my student's reactions. Pretty funny.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

8 Questions for my 8 year old

I did this last year with both my girls and S has certainly changed. She seems a bit more jaded, really. Half way through, she interviews me.

Me: What is your favorite book of all time?

S: American Girl books.

Me: Which one?

S: I don't know, I love all of them.

Me: If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go and who would go with you?

S: I'd go to Williamsburg again and my Grandma and Elfie would come with me. Or I might go to some of the places that some of the American Girls lived so I could check it out and see what it was like. And I hope they have scenes of, like, what it looked like back then and things.

Me: Okay. If you could live in any time period of the past, when would you like to live?

S: In the Colony times...1776, you know. Because I think it would be like really cool there, to like live there and live in that time because it was a really cool experience and I could learn what it was like back then.

Me: Do you have any ideas on careers you'd like to have when you grow up?

S: Well, I'd like to be a teacher but I haven't decided which grade to be yet.

Me: When you are a teenager, what will you look like?

S: Uh, I don't know. Cuz I can't see the future.

Me: If you were famous, what would you be famous for?

S: Singing. And dancing. And both of them would be seperate because I would have a career for singing and a career for dancing and I might be a teacher and I probably won't be famous when I grow up. And I think I want to be a, um, second grade teacher.

Me: What is your relationship like with your mother?

S: Uh, that's a very good question. I don't feel like talking about that to share with other strangers. You'd better not type that in mom.

Me: Okay.

S: It's a little embarrassing to say it on this thing whatever you're doing because it's my very own business.

Me: The people who read this, who are strangers, don't know who we are. I don't use your name on here or put pictures up.

S: But I don't thin kit's good to share our own private business with other people even if they don't know who we are. I mean, it still matters. It's our private business, they can't go snooping around trying to get it.

Me: You know Nana and Aunt L and Aunt E and Grandma sometimes read my blog.

S: Well, I don't want to share what my... they probably know what ti's liek to have children anyway, except for the people in my family who don't yet, but they probably will.

Me: Could you just share with me what your relationship is like with your mother and I won't type it?

S: (Silence.)

Me: Moving on.

S: (Laughs.) Ha.

Me: Last question. Let's make it a good one. Why are you up at 10:15 pm?

S: Okay, we shoudl probably already have the answer to that one. I can't get asleep. Now it's not because of my light on, it's because of...well, I did get up at eight-something this morning, I think. So, I'm very much not tired. Actually I feel like I could stay up and read for my whole life actually.

S: What's the capital of North Dakota.

Me: Bismark?

S: What did you think when a girl's father mistaked Uncle L for his daughter?

Me: I thought it was funny. It was reasonable because they were both little kids, the same size and the same hair cut, so from the stands when the kids played little league, they looked the same.

S: What's it like staying up for a very long time at night?

Me: It's pretty much like the day time, without sunlight or children running around. It's quiet.

S: Okay. Here's an opinion. I know that, well, nevermind, backspace it, backspace, hahahaha! (She's reading over my shoulder and laughing.)

Me: Go on, what's your opinion?

S: Well, don't think it's like... grownups have to stay up late. Well, they don't have to stay up late at night, but I dont' see why they do. I mean you rather should like go to bed because then when you get up in the morning you won't be such a crankpot and deal with crankpot kids.

Me: Alright. It really is time for us both to get to bed. 6 AM is WAY too early and will be here before we know it.

S: Well, no, not happenin' I could stay up all night and dance like a little cute puppy ballerina.

Me: And that shows just how silly you are because you're so tired. Thank you for being interviewed and thank you for interviewing me in return.

S: Please! (In a silly, sarcastic tone. I don't know what she's referring to, but she loves that word these days.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crazy Sexy Diet

Today is the third day Will and I have been on the 21 day cleanse following the book. I haven't actually gotten the book, but I have been following posts at My Crazy Sexy Life. Check out my new badge over there. Isn't that fun? You can join too! Great sales pitch, eh? (I'm practicing in case we have to move to Canada in the future. Shh.)

Anyway, day three, but the official cleanse started four days ago, so you'll find people on the site who are going through major detox. It's tough. The first time I detoxed it was amazing. My body was so toxic. It's not the same this time around. I'm still keeping in mind Natalia Rose's recommendations for food combining and detoxing for seven days before was good, except then I ate a couple sandwiches and Will made brownies... and blah blah. So for a week I was not following the detox program and then I told Will about the 21 day cleanse and all it entailed and voila, we're doing it together! He has impressed me. He went to Chipotle and didn't have meat or tortilla! Crazy. Just crazy. I was curious as to what he ate for lunch yesterday, and when he told me that I was happy for him but oh, it made me want a burrito/fajita bowl. See, you're supposed to have one or the other. Burrito bowl has rice and beans as the base, then the salsa etc. The Fajita bowl has rice and peppers and onions as the base. But I get beans and peppers and onions, then two kinds of salsa (mild and medium), lettuce and guacamole.

For dinner tonight I made my own rendition of my favorite Chipotle food. I combined six slices of skillet fried polenta, black beans and kidney beans (seasoned with garlic powder--leftover from two days ago), baby spinach, sauteed orange bell pepper and sweet onion, one tomato cut up and guacamole. I blended three avocados along with garlic powder, 1/4 sweet onion (would have preferred red onion) and a little medium salsa. YUM! Are you thinking, THREE avocados? Maybe not because you already know I have a family. The girls joined me in partaking of the amazing guacamole. They also had a serving of the beans, raw pepper slices and wheat thins. I tell ya, I was full after my meal. I'd only had an apple for breakfast and a small spinach/carrot salad at lunch and a green lemonade in the afternoon, so I was hungry!

(Spell check does not recognize polenta or Chipotle.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Crazy Sexy Diet

My Interview with Kris Carr, Crazy Sexy Diet from gabriellebernstein on Vimeo.

For all those wondering how REAL is this diet and how REAL is this woman, Kris Carr, THIS is the video for you. Her site has vlogs, her community has real members chatting right now, but this video really sums up how doable and real this diet is. Her 21 Day Cleanse started today and her book can be your guide. This is the week she has asked people to buy it because this is the week that counts toward landing this book at number one on the Best Seller's list.

The part I love about this video is Kris tells Gabby that since so much of the rest of her diet is wonderful, that she could continue having one cup of coffee in the morning. Gabby is pretty much willing to give up caffeine, but what she loves is the taste and the ritual. Me too. Kris explains the options there. One thing that is different between me and Gabby: she doesn't drink alcohol. Me? I like my beer and wine and gin and crown royal... And I like a seltzer or soda along with the liquor. So what am I to do? Which am I more willing to give up? Coffee, duh. I'd much rather replace coffee with green tea and green juices so I can still have a drink any evening I choose.

Guess what happened this morning. Knowing it was the start of the 21 Day Cleanse, I logged into the Crazy Sexy Life community and checked out the blog. Will asked what I was doing. I mean, I hadn't even had my coffee yet! (It was brewing.) I said, "The Crazy Sexy Diet 21 Day Cleanse starts today and she outlines all the changes to make today." Will responded, "Can't I start tomorrow? I have pizza heating up in the oven." Whaaaa? I didn't even know he was planning on doing this with me. I'd been talking about how I want to get the book for the last couple weeks and was reading Natalia Rose's book in the meantime to detox. I'd started juicing more. But did I ever ask him to do this with me? I know I'd thought it. "Oh, it'd be so nice if he would do this with me. He probably wouldn't want to. It's like when he asked me to do Atkins with him years ago and I couldn't go one day without a bagel. Why ever would he say yes to giving up meat, cheese and alcohol?"

I proceeded to read aloud Kris's Day One changes which include giving up coffee, flesh, dairy and alcohol. Just 21 days, right?! Right away Will said he wouldn't stop drinking coffee. And what about decaf? He likes the ritual, too. He went on to talk about how he reads a lot of news and nowhere is anyone badmouthing coffee with or without caffeine and giving it up is never recommended for other diets he's read about. Whoa, whoa. This is not a weight loss diet, I explained, this is an alkalizing diet, an anti-inflammatory diet. It's about better health and energy. Coffee, in any form, is acidic. She doesn't want you to start you day with an acidic drink. So in the end, he agreed that he could do this for 21 days, but he's keeping coffee. For 21 days: No cheese? No meat? Not even fish!? (We'll probably have salmon.) No..... alcohol? He says he can do it.

We're allowing eggs during the cleanse, too.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Boots 2011

I love my Bare Traps suede ankle boots. I wear them every day I have off from school and any school day I wear jeans. All my jeans are either boot cut or straight leg jeans. I do no own skinny jeans. I do own leggings, as of this winter, for wearing under sweater dresses. I own three sweater dresses and have only worn one with leggings to a wedding. I wore high heels but should have worn flats due to the amount of dancing and then walking I did. Anyway, I've been thinking about getting knee high boots. I did have a faux leather pair in black that I'd gotten at Wal-mart many years ago. The style of these boots had gone out of fashion so I donated them to Good Will this past summer. I recently went to the mall to get new sneakers for working out and I saw many a woman in knee-high boots. The thing I noticed is that women of ALL ages were wearing them with pants tucked in. Since I don't own skinny jeans I'd decided that if I wore knee-high boots it'd be with leggings or tights. Does the fact that every age group of women wears boots over pants mean that the fad is going out the door or that it's here to stay for longer? That I'm not sure. What I am sure about is that I'm not interested in buying leather shoes. Granted, my new sneakers do have leather and are not all man-made materials as I'd prefer, but I did what I could. I have a budget and a need and I did the best to meet those two criteria. There are boots that are made with fabrics and not leather and if I do get new ankle boots they will not be leather. G has a pair of uber fashionable boots. They are similar to Uggs, in brown suede. We bought them at a thrift store. She loves dressing nicely, so she appreciates them. Her favorite way to wear them is with tights and a dress. She had a soccer practice this morning and instead of staying in her sweat pants and T-shirt, when we got home she changed into tights, a dress and dress shoes. What a girlie girl!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Finding Support

Here I am at 2 in the afternoon having some ME time. At work. Ha! It's actually doable today with no students. Today is a professional day because of exams. Well, I'm done grading and have been straightening the classroom, decluttering, putting things away and just generally getting organized for a new semester. Wiping the slate clean--literally! I love clean blackboards. White boards are easier and cleaner, but I have to work with what I have.

So, I'm eating half a grapefruit and drinking green tea. Green tea is not recommended by Natalia Rose, but it has good antioxidants and I enjoy it, so I have it occasionally. I usually drink herbal or decaf tea. I watched Kris Carr's latest vlog and it got me really excited because I'm getting exactly what I need: Community. She is starting a 21 day cleanse starting on the 17th. Her book is out right now, but if you're going to buy it, wait until the 16th through the 21st so it can be on the best seller list. I'm definitely getting a copy. But even before I do, I'll be going to her site to follow along with the cleanse. I know I already started 10 days ago and I've been doing really well, but I need more support. Knowing there is a whole community of people changing their eating at the same time and in similar ways is supportive, encouraging and just plain comforting. Just watching Kris Carr's vlogs and seeing she is a real person who really is eating to live, to coin a phrase, shows that it is doable. Granted, she got a kick in the pants with a cancer diagnosis, but that doesn't make it any easier to keep going. In fact, it probably makes it harder at times.

One thing that keeps running through my head: Lauren, you already know the information in the book. You've been reading Crazy Sexy Life since it launched and the regular blog before hand. What do you need the book for?

When it comes to spending money I try to talk myself out of it. "Do you need it? Can you live without it?" This is what I hear in my head. My answer for this book? I want it! I want to support the site that I read for free every day. Also, I'm sure there is information in there I would learn from. Besides, reading things over again helps you learn them and put them into practice. Believe me, I will get this book.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Delay makes for Juice Day

With the two hour delay this morning, and a wonderful husband who cleaned off my car, I had extra time to juice and to even clean the juicer right away! I made a green lemonade, added filtered water and left for school with three mason jars full of green goodness. I drank one simultaneously with my coffee at 10 AM. Then I had another around 1 PM and another when I got home at 4:30 PM. I had brought an avocado and a Lara bar with me planning to remain completely raw, but I just kept drinking juice and never felt like eating. I was busy grading and supervising students through the morning and then organized lesson plan binders and paper work through the afternoon. I helped the new after school elementary art teacher with her first class this afternoon, then got the kids and came home.

For dinner I had something that is not recommended on an alkalizing or detoxing diet: dairy and wheat. I had homemade mac n cheese left over, so I heated it up with a little extra almond milk and shredded cheese. Then I added baby spinach and soft goat cheese. There was a LOT of spinach in mine and it filled me up fast. After I ate it I had phlegm in my throat. Darn dairy. At least I put it in my digestive system when it had been resting easy all day just taking in all the good nutrients from green juice.

I am very tempted to eat cheese, especially when it's in the house! When I don't have it, I don't eat it. That's how I stopped eating so many sweets years ago. I just didn't buy Oreos when I was at the store, though I wanted to, and then I didn't have any Oreos to eat. I'm very good at telling myself "No" at the grocery store, but once I'm home I'm just gonna have it. I know this about myself. It's very difficult at this time to be nondairy because Will loves cheese and keeps buying it. I keep discussing things I read about eating an alkaline diet and he's taken some of the information into action. He cut WAY back on meat consumption. Basically, if he doesn't buy it, he doesn't eat it and he doesn't buy much of it. Meat used to be a regular on our dinner table. I'm very happy he's made this change. Now if I could just keep dairy out of the house we'd all be in better shape (digestively).

At this time in the evening I'm very satisfied with what I've had to eat/drink today. I had two small squares of nondairy dark chocolate after dinner. It's cold, so I'm going to have some herbal tea with a agave. Oh, funny story. The first time I said "agave" out loud I pronounced it ah-gave. I said it to the cashier at a health food store. Real smart, huh. Prior to that I'd only read about it, so I didn't know. But, once I heard it pronounced correctly I was like, DUH! So I don't plan on eating anything else, but I may have a bowl of cereal later. I'm not going to have any more protein food today since I already miscombined at dinner. I'll just stick with the carbs and satisfy my desire for them this evening.

Maybe we'll even have another delay tomorrow and I can make a bunch of juice again.

This morning's juice:
1 bunch celery, 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 head of Romaine, 7 stalks kale, 3 lemons, 1 apple
The juice was a beautiful light green, almost fluorescent. Simply beautiful. I also sprinkled a little stevia in each mason jar. It was very much like lemonade, as it's supposed to be.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Detox Day 7

Breakfast: Lara bar and coffee
Lunch: Egg salad (two hard boiled eggs and mayo) over baby spinach and 1/2 cucumber peeled
Snack: I couldn't wait for dinner, so when I got home at three I made a dinner type meal: One bunch of rainbow chard (not organic this time) sauteed with garlic and butter and mixed in leftover quinoa/corn noodles. Swiss chard is so beautiful. As soon as this chard got cooking I could smell the difference from the last chard I had which was organic. It was not as sweet and mild, but it was still good. I ate a big plate of that, had a tad bit of red wine (I love it with greens) and then I was still wanting something else so I had a bowl of Go Lean Crunch cereal with almond milk.

Play practice was scheduled for this evening but has been canceled due to some snow (not much) and possible ice. I'm starting to get a little hungry again. I might heat up some of what the kids had for dinner even though it's probably not the best for the digestive system. I made them Tostatas. I toasted a tortilla in the oven, cut it into triangles and put Gimme Lean ground beef (vegan) on top. I'd sauteed the veggie meat in a skillet with garlic breaking it up into small crumbles. I put a heafty portion of guacamole on top. I made it using a little salsa, garlic powder and fork mashed avocado.

Today is my last entry (for now) titled Detox Day. I'm going to continue eating light to heavy and focus on keeping green juice and leafy greens a regular part of my daily diet. I'm also going to stay away from junk food like donuts and cookies and have cereal and dark chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth. I'll continue logging my food often as it helps me keep track of how I'm eating. Looking back, I had three days grain free! That is HUGE for me! I usually have bread of some sort with every meal: donut or toast in the morning, crackers at lunch, pasta at dinner, toast or biscuit for snack. Cutting it out noticeably helped with bloating. I felt lighter and my pants felt less tight (even while menstruating, which most women experience some bloating with). I'm also going to continue doing group exercise classes. I expect to be noticing weight loss in the next couple weeks with this routine. I already feel better. Greens make such a difference! I realized I love being hydrated. I'm making more of a conscious effort to drink from my water bottle throughout the day and when I get home, I keep it nearby and finish any water that is left. Then I refill it about half way and drink that through the evening. For a couple nights during this seven days I had to use the bathroom around 2-3 am, but the last two nights I have not and I've been drinking even more water and green juice. Go figure!

I would really like a two-hour delay tomorrow. That way I could take the time to juice. Ideally I'd like to have three mason jars of green juice to have throughout the morning. That would keep me feeling satisfied until lunch.

What did I do well today: Combined well (so far!) Said no to donuts left on the table for teachers (I literally had to say no, no, no to myself until I listened. In the past I'd say, no, no, oh fine, go ahead.) Drank water. Did not have any sugar until the cereal this afternoon. Not having sugar in the morning and at lunch is also huge for me.

I am enjoying eating this way and continue to look through Detox for Women to find new recipe ideas and combinations that are good to have. Even though I've eaten this way for an extended time before (when I started this blog) it takes some relearning after not following it. Sometimes I'd think about my food combining and I'd realize how it was affecting me. I just wasn't ready to change it. As I read from one woman's testimonial in the book, it's not just that the food needs to change, but other facets of your life might be disordered and need fixing. Once that happens, then the food is easy to do. And, really, that's true. I couldn't focus on eating this way when I was stressed with commuting to work and not knowing where my family would be living or when we'd move. Now that we are comfortable in our own home, have joined a gym, are involved in fun extracurricular activities and feel stable in many ways, I can focus on feeding myself well again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Detox Day 6

I don't feel like I'm detoxing. I think more measures are needed, but I don't have the equipment for that right now. Here's how I ate today:
Breakfast: Coffee (stevia/Silk) and grapefruit
Lunch: Butternut squash soup and 1/2 tomato with a little bit of avocado (left over from the previous night)
Snack: 1/2 red pepper, sliced
I ate my snack after school and when I got home I had to get ready for step class. I was getting hungry so I ate a hard boiled egg, then went to class.
Dinner: 2/3 a box of Quinoa and corn pasta with baby spinach and soft goat cheese
Evening snack: Grain, after not having it for three days, made me want more grain! And sweet! So, I gave in and had a bowl of cheerios with almond milk. Then I had 1/5 my bar of 70% cocoa. Yum! That's the perfect amount of cocoa. More than that and it's too bitter for me.

Where did I miscombine? The dairy and grain at dinner. I'm not worried about it, though.

Where have I done well: I have gone six days without sugar until after dinner. That is amazing! I used to have donuts and cookies (they're still available in the faculty room, but I don't partake) and sugar in my coffee and sometimes jam on bread. So now I'm raw in the morning. I eat partially raw at lunch, then I eat cooked food at dinner.

It's been six days and while I feel lighter and more energy, for the most part, I'm not expelling waste like I want to be. Waste=weight. Basically, for me, bloating and cellulite. Two things can help me detox better: juice feasting (fasting) and enemas. Ah! It's true, though. Go look for yourself. The information is out there.

Speaking about body image, going to the gym and these group classes has actually made me see how small I am. Often, I don't think of myself as small. It's not logical, but it's left over from pregnancy and post-pregnancy days of being larger. When I'm at an exercise class surrounded by women of all shapes and sizes, I'm never the smallest, but I am on that end of the spectrum. This got me thinking about high school. I was a thin teenager, so I know the response some girls can have to that. It was like it was my fault I was thin. Then, when I worked out to lose pregnancy weight, I felt the opposite, like no one gave me credit for doing it because I'd been thin before so it was to be expected. Only recently, when seeing people I hadn't seen in over five years did I feel acknowledged for my life changes I've made in diet and body shape. Anyway, back to the response some girls had in HS. Well, adults are often the same people they were when they were teens, so I can't help but wonder, do women who need to lose weight hate me? Just in the generic sort of way, like thinking, "Why is she here?" or "F---ing skinny bitch." Back to the expectations thing. I also have felt like I let people down with my physical inabilities which are not in accordance to my size. Though I'm thin with long legs, I can't run. I am weaker in my lower body than my upper. And I'm not in the least bit flexible. My inflexibility might surprise you. My gym teachers were practically disgusted.
So, all this rambling about body image and athletics was running through my head this evening. And so it is for most women. It's not all day or even every day that I think about my body issues. Through my life I've been mostly satisfied with my physicality. Usually, when I think about my body I think about a couple things I want to change (cellulite, saddle bags) and then I focus on things I wouldn't want to change (strong stomach, toned arms, small breasts). The list of things I like far outweighs my dislikes. For this reason, I've always felt I have a healthy body image. Sometimes, though, it does get distorted. It's easy for this to happen in such a media-centric world.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Detox Day 5

I slept in today, so I started with my coffee later in the morning. I was ready to eat by lunch.
Lunch: Avocado and Tomato Salad: 1/2 tomato and 1/2 avocado; 3 small purple cabbage leaves with diced avocado; 6 oz green juice (frozen juice made with collards, turnip greens, romaine, celery, lemon and who knows what else--Will made it a month ago).
Snack: 10 oz green juice; handful of red pepper slices and baby carrots
Dinner 6:00 PM: Butternut squash soup (vegetarian from a box)
Then I went to get some groceries and came back to overcooked sweet potatoes. I'd forgotten to tell Will to take them out of the oven while I was gone. Oh, well. They were still edible!
Dinner continued: 3 small sweet potatoes with vegan butter and sea salt; a glass of red wine. I waited an hour and then had 3 scrambled eggs with goat cheese. YUM! Another filling and satisfying day. I dropped and broke an egg. Know how I cleaned it up? Baking soda. I sprinkled it on, let it absorb, then swept it up. Voila. No disgusting egg soaked paper towels. I'd read or saw that somewhere years ago and actually had to do it one time before when G was a toddler and pulled eggs out of the fridge. I was more concerned with her touching them because of her allergy and had to wash her hands off right away. I didn't know how sensitive she'd be, but all was fine, including the kitchen floor.

Also today, I started play practice with a community theater that involves people from my parish and the K-12 school. Ages six through adult are involved. It was a fun practice involving singing and some dancing. It'll be a busy two months getting ready, but should be fun. S is in the play, too. She's really the reason I decided to do it and my sister joined as well!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Detox Day 4

Breakfast: Coffee with stevia and Silk Creamer; Grapefruit with stevia
Lunch: Salad: baby greens, cabbage, soft goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Snack: 10 oz Green lemonade: 5 stalks Celery, 5 kale leaves, 2 cucumbers, 2 lemons
Dinner: 12 oz Green lemonade while I made dinner; Cooked Rainbow Chard (vegan butter, garlic, sea salt); Carrot and Sweet potato soup with soft goat cheese on top
Since I ate dinner early with the kids, I was hungry 3 hours later.
2nd Dinner: Three eggs scrambled with soft goat cheese and one large organic tomato; 1 glass of red wine; a few non-dairy chocolate chips

Looking at this I see that I'm relying on goat cheese to make my meals "more." I'm missing bread, crackers, chips, tortillas! AH! I love it. But, I'm also having filling meals without it. I need to garnish with more vegetables to make plates more interesting.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Detox Day 3

Yay! We had a snow day today. That gave me extra sleep. Hooray! I had my grapefruit and stevia sweetened coffee this morning. At lunch I had carrots dipped in salsa and a mug of carrot and sweet potato soup. I had a good appetite and found that I ate all but two carrots before the bell rang. I'd brought extra for after school, so it was more than I expected to have the appetite for.

Early this evening I made the green scrambled eggs again. Garlic, onion, purple cabbage and kale with three eggs and goat cheese. Also, I added an avocado and a tomato. Starches (the avocado) aren't supposed to be combined with protein (egg) but I feel like I need the extra food. It's better than doing bread with eggs. Then, an hour later, I was wanting more of the same thing, so I did the quick version of just two eggs and cheese. I was still feeling hungry an hour after that, so I had two celery sticks with goat cheese and a bowl of carrot and sweet potato soup. Oh so yummy! Tomorrow, being Saturday, I plan on having green juice through the morning, salad at lunch and more kale at dinner. Gotta eat it up.

I think to make this program more effective I need to bring more prepared veggies to school. Sometimes I'm hungry late morning when I have a planning period and I'm definitely hungry by 3PM. Carrot sticks and pepper and cucumber slices would be ideal.

Now I'm embarking on the first weekend of my detox. I want to be more strict this first week in avoiding bread, chocolate and alcohol (which I had the first two days) and then add in the best of those things while combining properly. It's easy to eat more while at home. I do better when I'm working. I need to focus on the goal. I just have to do seven days, then I can be more lenient and add more fruits and some chocolate and wine and sprouted grain bread and millet and even cereal! I'd love to eat a bowl of honey nut cheerios right now. With a banana in it. Oooops, not a good combo. Okay, so I won't have that. I'll be going to bed soon, so I've made it to the end of a successful day. One little oopsie in combining this evening, but over all a good day and another step toward a good few days of anti-candida detoxing. Itchiness has died down some, but elimination hasn't been great. So, obviously, I'm not getting rid of waste like I should be. I think it'll be kicking in soon, though.

New Years Resolution

Just to update, in case you were unaware, my resolution this year is to detox (again!) and to put the focus back on raw foods, green juices and having energy. I have some minor to moderate health concerns including eczema, seborrhea dermatitis (similar to psoriasis), possible systemic candida (not diagnosed, but I have many symptoms of this), and acid reflux. I use medication for all of these issues except the candida. I don’t have a problem taking medicine, but truly, these health problems come from internal inflammation and what I eat. Clean cells do not allow disease and that’s what I want. I’m following Natalia Rose’s book Detox for Women. I’ve followed her guidelines before, but over time much of the program went out the window. After this holiday season of eating lots of goodies and lots of cheese, I decided New Years was a good time to start getting back on track. I joined a gym because I love group exercise classes and that combined with a detoxifying vegetarian diet will get me feeling better. I’m logging my food intake and how I feel each day at my blog. You can also find this post at Momma's Lounge.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Me? A Blackberry user?

I could be, and so could you by entering to win this giveaway on Healthy Happy Life blog. Check it out. I'd probably join Twitter if I had a phone with Internet. Can you believe I use an old fashioned flip phone that doesn't even have a camera? Lame. At least it's not a green screen model like the one I had two phones before this one. Yes, it's my THIRD PHONE. And the second one didn't need to be replaced until a little kid broke it by pulling the charger out. That was the same kid who could open childproof medicine caps at the age of two.

Detox Day 2

Thursday 8:30 am
I woke up hungry again. Also, I had terrible restless leg the last two nights. Maybe it's the sulfates in the wine? I'll research that. I brought two frozen jars of green juice with me today and a grapefruit. I haven't had the juice yet. It's defrosting in warm water in the sink. I'm using a little less stevia in my coffee and it's a better taste. I ate my grapefruit with stevia, but I'm not completely full feeling. I'm sipping my coffee and when I finish it I'll drink water until the green juice is ready. As long as I get the juice in my stomach by 10:00 AM I think I'll feel satisfied. Again, I don't feel shaky or week. I just have a slight feeling of hunger in my stomach. Maybe it wants some rye toast like my kids had this morning! Nope. It'll have to wait until this evening. Speaking of this evening, maybe I'll have salad, soup and toast. Good combination there.

2:40 PM
I ended up drinking most of my green juice during a class right before lunch. It really grossed out the kids, which was hilarious. Then I had a mug of carrot and sweet potato soup for lunch. That on top of the juice was enough to fill me up. I'm eating red pepper slices now because I am hungry, but the feeling is different. It's not so painful or nagging. It's more of a legitimate hunger. I've had good energy today. Yesterday I felt more hunger pains, but today I felt lighter and more energized. I think it will only get better. I'm feeling less bloated than I did before yesterday. The last few months I've been feeling bloated much of the time and not, you know, "going" enough. Nothing has really changed in that department, yet. It's too soon. The more green juice I drink, though, the more I'll detoxify. I'm going to continue eating lots of cooked food in the evening to maintain a steady level of detox and not have too much. Too much detox is certainly not a good thing. It can give you congestion, headache, nausea. I haven't had that happen and I don't want to. When I get home today I'm going to have my last banana in a smoothie with blueberry and vanilla almond milk. That'll give me enough energy to fix dinner for the kids and then for myself. It is tough eating differently than the girls. I've always enjoyed eating the same as them, or vice verse, really. Truthfully, though, there will still be nights when we all eat the same. Just not yet. I don't have any grains in the house except whole wheat pasta, which I'm not eating, and a little brown rice, which S doesn't even like. I need to get quinoa and millet.

5:45 PM
Even though I'd had red pepper slices in the afternoon, I was hungry when I got home, so we ate dinner at 4:45. It's not early for the kids because they go to bed at 7 pm and sometimes earlier. I did not have the smoothie. I really wanted bread. I had rye bread, which has no added sugar, with Dijon mustard, a whole avocado and Roma tomato. It hit the spot! Then I had one more slice of bread with vegan butter. An hour later and I'm still full, but I can't stop thinking about food! What do I want? I'm not feeling the satisfaction I did from last night's lovely dinner.

I've been reading Detox for Women and reviewing the principles. I knew bread was not a good option for detox, but baby steps! To do a detox that will get rid of candida I need to eliminate alcohol, fruit (ALL fruit!), chocolate and grains. Boo! It wouldn't be forever, though. I would eventually add all that back in and be sure to combine well. Rose gives three detox options in her book. The first option, the easiest, is called "Baptism by Sunshine" and is to do as much as one can with plenty of room to bend. The second option is "The Systemic Cleanse" and is the strictest to rid the system of yeast. It can be done for one to four weeks. The other option is to follow the basic detox program which does include wine, some fruit, grain and chocolate. Once detox is complete and the body restored to health, then various fruits and grains can be included such as sprouted grain bread and certain cereals. Fish and egg are permitted as well.

I'll continue to do my best avoiding sugar, grain, fruit and alcohol, but I'll probably have it every few days. I may continue to have grapefruit for breakfast. I'm feeling good with that. I plan to get probiotics, too.

8:30 pm
For a snack I had romaine lettuce with Dijon mustard and Goats cheese. Yum. Hit the spot! And it was a good bit after I'd had dinner, so it shouldn't be terrible on my system. Then I had some non-dairy chocolate chips. They have sugar, but I couldn't fight it. I also drank some unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Then, I was satisfied.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Detox Day 1

Wednesday 10:23 AM.
I am hungry! I woke up hungry this morning; probably because I ate such easily digestible food yesterday evening. I packed a grapefruit, stevia and Silk creamer for breakfast at work. I used the stevia in my coffee and on my grapefruit. There is an aftertaste with it, which is different than sugar in coffee, but it was okay. I just reminded myself that it wasn’t sugar and it was a different cup of coffee than I usually have. I would like to give up coffee completely and end my addiction to caffeine, but I think cutting out the sugar and dairy creamer is the better answer right now.
While my stomach feels hunger pains, I do not feel shaky as I sometimes do when I have bread for breakfast or skip it altogether and just have sugary coffee. I have read that the hunger feeling occurs just because the body is used to eating at that time. If you change the time you eat, you’ll feel the hunger pain. If you eat quicker digesting foods, the same thing happens. My stomach is empty now. I should drink water, but I am in a different classroom at this time and do not have it with me.
I am looking forward to lunch. Usually I feel pretty glum about lunches that I pack because I just throw them together in the morning. Today’s lunch was thought out, though. I have a bowl of my carrot and sweet potato soup I made last night and a small salad. I predict by the end of the school day I will feel hungry again because lunch is a quick exit combination. I need to pick up some sprouted grain bread from Ezekiel brand. Oh boy, that with avocado on it would be delicious!
As you can see, I’m still feeling motivated. I may go to the gym tonight for a weight lifting/toning class. I just need to get the kids early enough to get some dinner into them and a smoothie into me.

Wednesday Lunch 11:30 AM
I am so glad it’s lunch time! However, once I started eating my salad, I tired of it quickly. I should have put goat cheese or avocado in it. I like it creamier. The soup was delicious and even though it was a good size portion, I ate it quickly. I should have brought more for afternoon snack. I did well! I refused a cookie. I haven’t had any sugar today. Now I’m ready for the afternoon.

Wednesday afternoon 2:00 PM
I’m hungry again. It’s those quick exit foods. My stomach is empty and it doesn’t like it. I know I don’t need food, but my belly wants to feel full. I’ve made a cup of green tea sweetened with stevia. I should have just had it unsweetened. The taste is not agreeing with me. I do want to get used to the taste of stevia, so I’m drinking it. I’m also drinking my water. I never finish all the water in my Camelbak water bottle, but I should.
Goals I’ve met so far: No sugar. No dairy. No grain. Raw fruit and vegetables. Cooked vegetables.
My plan for this evening’s food: When I get home I’m going to have a smoothie consisting of a banana, blueberries and vanilla almond milk. Banana is not an approved fruit for the anti-candida four week detox, but I have some at home and I still believe in baby steps. Plus, it will give me good energy for the gym. The girls will have leftover kale and pasta before going to the gym. When we get home I’ll have kale, salad and soup. I may drop by the store for Ezekiel bread so I can have that tonight, too, and some Silk creamer to keep at home.

Wednesday Evening 8:00 PM
I am full! This evening we got home at 4:30. I gave the girls dinner and I drank a smoothie. Then we went to the gym and the grocery store. Giant did not have sprouted grain bread. They had various gluten free breads, but they had sugar in them and I really don't want a bread that just gluten free. I want sprouted grain. So, I got rye bread and if I'm craving bread, then I'll have that in the evening. When we got home I was starving. The girls were hungry, too. They had a little snack while I made my awesome dinner. I basically made what Natalia Rose calls a "Hungry Girl Omlet." I was definitely a hungry girl. I started by sauteing two cloves of garlic and one small onion. Then I added red pepper slices and shredded purple cabbage. I whisked three eggs and poured them over the veggies. It wasn't an omlet, but scrambled eggs. The eggs actually turned green! The bluish purple of the cabbage mixed with the yellow of the eggs is probably what did it. Then I diced an avacado and one roma tomato, put it all on a plate and ate. Oh delicious. I paced myself. I could have scarfed it down, but then I wouldn't have been satisfied. I ate while watching previously aired episodes of How I Met Your Mother. The website kept freezing at first, so that helped me take breaks from eating to try to reload it. I also had two glasses of red wine. Now that I'm finished, I don't crave bread, not really, but I'd told myself that protein and bread do not combine well, so it wasn't an option. I don't crave sweet either. Oh, get this. My poor husband had to stay home sick today and ordered himself pizza. It was in the oven when I got home, but I did not even take a nibble. I guess I hadn't really made it clear to him that I'm detoxing, because he told me it was there. Not that he shouldn't have cheese and pizza in the house. I am very satisfied with today. The class I took today used barbell weights and focuses on toning and building muscle. I'm not sore like I was the first time I took this class two weeks ago. I was so sore it was painful to life my water glass that evening! Today I feel good. I'm going to bed successful and happy.
My greenish eggs.

We're all on a diet

This morning, over my grapefruit, I read this article from the Baltimore Sun. It’s about how local chefs feed their own children. I relate to many of the stories about picky eaters and bringing “odd” lunches to school. My girls aren’t really picky, but they do cycle through likes and dislikes. One week raisins are a favorite of my five year old. The next week she won’t eat them and boxes come back untouched in her lunchbox. It’s the same for my eight year old. Sometimes she wants grape jelly on her nut butter sandwich and then suddenly she’ll tell us not to put any jelly on it. There’s not an issue with their preferences changing, other than frustrating my husband and I while packing lunches. We don’t like when food comes home spoiled and uneaten. We pay for that food! We want it to go to the use it was intended: nourishing their growing bodies.
The leading chefs of the article pack their children seemingly “odd” food for lunch. For our family, though, there is nothing odd about it. Pureed bean dips, brown rice sushi, red peppers and hummus. It’s all ordinary food for our family. In preschool and kindergarten S did not get comments from other students at school. But in first grade she started getting “ewws!” from neighboring eaters in the cafeteria. She shared these stories with me, probably to feel support for her food preferences, but the other children’s opinions did not deter her from eating her food.
Then one day she said something I found odd. Another student had a salad in her lunchbox and told S that she was on a diet! Okay, I’d read that girls as young as seven were concerned about body image, but I don’t think this child has that issue. I think it just has to do with the stigma salad has as a diet food. She probably saw or heard this somewhere, from TV, parents, or friends, and wanted to feel special about being on a diet. S talked with me about this and I tried to have her understand that people use the word “diet” incorrectly to mean eating to lose weight. It’s really not that at all, I told her, it’s just a word for the way people eat. People can eat many different diets, like a raw diet, a vegetarian diet, a low fat diet, a sugar-free diet, a dairy-free diet, etc. She suggested some of those, so she gets it.
The truth is, I do feel special about my diet and the diet I give my children. It’s not perfect and I’m not an expert on nutrition, but I do read a lot about it and I do my best to give us a varied, nutrient dense diet. The chefs in the article expressed the same feeling. Some also wanted their children to be adventurous eaters. My oldest was an adventurous eater as a toddler. She was a roly poly little girl and one pediatrician, the first time I took my daughters there, told me it would be a good thing when she gets pickier in the preschool stage. I certainly didn’t want my daughter to be picky, but I DID want her to eat good food. She had always readily eaten fruits and whole grains, and when I described her healthy diet, the doctor suggested I give her more raw vegetables, like peppers. So I did. At first S was not a big fan of red peppers, but now they’re her favorite. Any kind of sweet bell pepper, really. That’s when I decided salad consumption would be a goal I had for my kids and kept giving them raw vegetables. It’s worked out for us and neither one really had a “picky stage.”

My Husband's new fave band

My new Tori

Regina Spektor - On the Radio Live (Bonnaroo 2010)

Doesn't she resemble a younger Tori Amos here? I love, love, love Tori's music. I have all her studio albums. I think it's time I really get into Spektor's music, though. And I mean more than the occasional song on Pandora.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Four Week Cleanse

Exercising and eating right go hand in hand. You shouldn't do one without the other. I have found I can NOT do one without the other. We joined the Y when G was 9 months old. After two years I found that I wanted to drastically change my diet and did so. After that it was so easy. I exercised regularly and ate wonderfully. I dropped excess fat, gained extra muscle and was at a good weight for my height and body type. I wasn't excessively skinny, but the weight loss was noticeable to friends and family who'd only known my adult form as carrying a baby or nursing a baby. By the time my second baby was 3 years old I weighed less than I had when I got married, which I did at the age of twenty. (I'm still not certain if my age has been revealed yet. I really need to look this up!) I wasn't my high school weight, but I was certainly my high school size, maybe even leaner. Why wasn't my weight the same as it was in high school? Because of muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat and when I was in high school I did not exercise. I never played sports or did too much outdoors, so I wasn't fit and I wasn't lean and muscular. At all. I was skinny. But it was a soft skinny. Except I was bony. Is that difficult to picture? Oh well.

So anyway. The point I'm making is that when I moved from NC to MD, abandoning my beautiful, wonderful Y and its wonderful instructors (I still miss you gals!), I eventually stopped exercising. As I've said, I tried. I walked/jogged with a jogging stroller. I walked S to school. Will and I went on long walks leaving the girls at home with my parents. But it wasn't the same cardio and toning routine I had been doing and eventually winter came and I stopped. I was teaching and I was busy. And I was TIRED! Sooooo tired. I was more tired than I'd ever been. Commuting by car on the highway is exhausting in itself and much more so with two antsy, hungry, cranky children after a mentally exhausting day of working with teenagers (who are on all sorts of different levels of maturity--BUT I love my job). When I stopped exercising and winter came, my mom noticed there was considerable dust on my juicer and suggested we store it in the garage. Had I not been using it? Nope. Had I stopped eating salad? Yep. It's cold in the winter. Who wants salad? Not me! Don't get me wrong, I was still on the path to vegetarian and got to pescatarian by August '09. I was still eating good stuff like kale and sweet potato and plenty of other cooked vegetables (thanks, Mom!), but I was eating bread for breakfast, drinking sugary coffee (still am) and often eating more than my fair share of sweets. Exercise gone, high raw diet gone.

Without green juice, the high raw diet doesn't work. Without exercises I have no motivation to eat well. Having joined a local gym and having gone to a hand full of group exercise classes, I am once again motivated to fuel my body. I don't have the stamina I did when I left NC. I want it back. My pants are all getting tighter and tighter. Some don't even fit at all. I don't care about the number on the scale. I can see the difference in the mirror and feel it every day when I get dressed. I want to change. I want to go back. No, I want to go forward!

I've already started. I stopped by the grocery store today and picked up my ammunition. I'm gonna blast my cells with clean energy and detoxify them of the crap I've put in. That means green juice and smoothies in the morning, raw nuts or nut butter during the day, salads at lunch and dinner, cooked vegetables in the evening. I'm not perfect at this and today, being the second day back since break, had a difficult time getting up this morning, so I stopped by Dunkin Donuts. I ate a veggie egg white flat bread sandwich. I'm sure there was sucralose in the flat bread and there was cheese on it, or something called pasteurized cheese product, but I don't feel bad about the veggie egg. (Though I can't shake the feeling there probably is something in there I should feel bad about.) So, after the coffee and egg sandwich this morning, I had bean burgendy. It's like boeuf bourguignon, only with beans and vegetable gravy. My mom made it this past weekend and I ate it over egg noodles until today when I didn't have anymore noodles left. Lunch=good. Dinner=EVEN BETTER! First, I got some nice kale sauteing. Then I boiled some whole wheat elbows for the girls. I also put four sweet potatoes in the oven. While all that was going on, I made a big salad for me and left extra chopped/shredded veggies in the fridge for tomorrow. The girls ate dinner while I finished chopping veggies. After I ate my salad, I got soup started and did dishes and then put the girls to bed. I also had a glass of red wine. Yum. Surprisingly I'm not craving beer. Then I sat down to Biography: Christian Bale on Hulu and ate my sweet potatoes. Eating and watching TV is one of my favorite things to do. I know you're not supposed to do it and I can't deny I've overeaten while watching, but I still love to do it. Then I went and fixed up my soup and had a cup, and I mean a small tea cup of soup. It's 8:36 pm, I'm full and I haven't had any bread or other grain since this morning! More on that in a minute.

Here's what was in my salad:
Shredded Purple Cabbage
Red Pepper slices
Organic Baby Greens
One Roma tomato
Four slices of soft goat cheese with chives
Topped with Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

Here's how I made my soup:
1.5 boxes organic vegetable broth
1 bag of organic baby carrots
Simmered on the stove until the carrots were soft.
Added the cooled and skinned two sweet potatoes.
Added the following spices: dried basil, dried thyme, coriander, cinnamon, curry powder, chili powder, garlic powder and sea salt. I didn't measure, I just sprinkled. I put in a very little bit of cinnamon, but more of the other seasonings.
Then, I blended with an immersion blender. And voila! What a complex flavor in such a simple recipe.

Where did I get the inspiration for such a beautiful soup? Natalia Rose's book Detox For Women. I should have checked her recipe, because it calls for ginger, which I have in the freezer, but forgot about! Oh darn. Hey! That doesn't mean I can't add it after it's cooked. I'll be reheating it on the stove, so no big deal. I'd made her recipe before, so I remember the basic ingredients and just added the spices I know I like and have on hand. I love that I can cook this way now. When I was younger I had know idea what spices worked with other spices, or what I really liked in the way of seasonings. My mom did all the cooking growing up and I had no interest in learning. She recently told me that when I was 19 she asked if I'd like to help her make dinner sometimes to learn some recipes before I got married (remember, I was only twenty when I got married). I replied, "I know how to read a cookbook." What a smart ass I was! Ha! Well, I do know how to read a cookbook and I'm a self-taught cook and baker in many ways, but observing my mom and eating her food also taught me many aspects of cooking from preparing dishes and prep- strategies in small spaces to the best ways to serve food on the table or buffet style and the cleanup. Thanks, Mom. You really did teach by example. I hope I'm doing the same for my kids. S should probably help with preparing dinner, but often I take solace in the kitchen after a day at work. I want to be alone with the food and not talk. As a teacher I explain the same thing over and over again. I just don't want to do any more teaching and explaining when I get home. The summer, though, is the time when I really focus on teaching my kids skills at home.

Back to the bread and grain problem. First of all, bread is like glue in the body. It's not helpful for the digestive system at all. Even whole wheat. It's one of the reasons my pants don't fit well. I'm also really, really tired of something which no one wants to hear about, much less talk about, but I'm going to say it: I have an itchy rump. Rectum, that is. I think it's a yeast problem. Candida thrives on sugar. I want to get rid of it. That means no sugary fruits, no bread, no sugar or sweets. Oh, I just remembered I forgot to pick up some dark chocolate. I think I have chocolate chips in the cupboard. Anyway, I still have coffee in the morning to contend with. I should switch to Stevia until I can give up the coffee altogether. Detox For Women really focuses on helping women flush their bodies of excess yeast. It's certainly a problem in our culture. Acid reflux is one of a long list of symptoms dealing with candida. It never went away when I was high raw, but I still consumed lots of fruits and sugar. (Oh man, it's itching right now just thinking about it! And yes, I talk this way with close family and friends. And you.) So what am I to do about it? I'm trying my very best to follow the four week cleanse Natalia Rose lays out in her book. That's it. Four weeks. I'll take it one day at a time. I can still have berries and grapefruit and I can have eggs when I'm really freakin' hungry and I can have wine and goats cheese. I can do this! By the time spring comes I'll join a CSA and have fresh greens out the wazoo so I'll have to juice, juice, juice. I want to feel GOOD and AWAKE and ALIVE! Oh no, I'm getting really excited. Watch. In two days I'll hate everyone and everything. Ha! Maybe I won't. I'll try not to, at least. I have 1.5 logs of goat cheese in the fridge, grapefruit, frozen berries for smoothies, sweet potatoes, rice noodles for when I'm craving carbs. Now I just have to get me some good chocolate. I even bought unsweetened vanilla almond milk for my smoothies. Oh, I'm set. The way to be successful is to be prepared and I'm there. Now, I've put it out there. I'll update even if I muck up.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I like this song, do you?

Discovered via WTMD.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Remember how that word made you cringe when you were a student? Maybe it still does. It does for me, but for different reasons than when I was a student. Now, I'm the teacher giving the final and grading the final and making sure I have plenty of time for the final. I don't give final exams in art, not even art history, but I give final projects. Budgeting time and getting through all that I want to is tricky and I'm feeling a little scrunched in photography. I'm not going to let it bother me too much, though, because over all I've spaced projects very well this semester in most classes. I also cringe a bit because I proctor midterms and finals for other teachers. It's a policy at my school, one that I don't believe we had at my HS, that teachers do not give their own midterms or finals. Also, art, music and dance do not give finals (all our classes are semesters, so we don't really have midterms) during exam week, but instead give tests or projects during the last week of class. Projects can be due during exam week, though I always make them due before exams start. Still, last year I had students turn in things late. I'd rather then turn them in than not, but I do take off points for lateness. Final exams are worth 20% of their semester grade, so it's a pretty big deal. Teachers make study guides count toward the exam grade, so that helps students get points for doing it AND makes them prepare for the exam, too.

Here are my final exams this semester:
Photography: Students took landscape color photographs on a field trip and will overlap them to create a collage in the style of David Hockney.
Art History: Students will do a Report page for each of the 8 time periods we studied. On each report page they will have the title of the era, the dates of the era, one paragraph on the culture and art of the time period, a list of artists we studied along with their paintings, a recreation or printed copy of a painting from the period, and a paragraph of how that painting exemplifies the art of the time period. Then they will do a recreation of a painting from any of the time periods. They have the option of doing the report pages on a computer or doing them by hand in their sketch books, which is what I recommend and what most are doing.
Arts and Crafts: Basket Weaving--as straightforward as it sounds.
Introduction to Materials and Techniques: Repousse Masks--This class takes students through the Elements of Art. The last element we have yet to cover is texture. If I'd already covered texture, I would do a final project that combined all the elements of art, but I figured I might as well go with the last element and make it the final. Repousse is a multi-step project and can yield a very nice product, so it's suitable as a final project.

I also supervise an online class that students take, but I am not their teacher, so I don't have to worry about their final other than making sure they do everything they need to do to prepare.

Christmas break has been wonderful. I have gotten so much sleep and relaxed. I've also taken more classes at the gym, watched movies and played games with my girls. I've eaten with family... lots of family and made new recipes from new cookbooks. Will and I got all the decorations put away today so we start a new year clean and organized (mostly!). I helped the girls organize their rooms and their new toys. S got many new accessories for her American Girl doll, named Bella, so we had to put them away nicely. Bella has her own little bedroom area in S's room. G has a Diego and Dora town in her room including Diego's rescue center and Dora's house and barn! It was time for her Little People to go. She's keeping some of the updated sets, where the Little People have arms and legs that move, including a pink castle, a car and camper and tent.

While I'm still four years behind in both girl's scrapbooks, I got a about 7 pages done in G's scrapbook, so I applaud myself for doing that. There were no other projects I really wanted to tackle, other than maybe getting a jump start on planning for next semester, but I also gave myself the option of not doing that, so I didn't! I did watch TV and movies and just chilled. It was really nice.

The next few months I'll be busy. S and I are doing the musical at our school/parish community theatre, along with my sister. It should be lots of fun. Neither my sister or I have done musical since high school, though my sister did perform musically in college. She's a music teacher. S is excited to finally be in a play. She wishes she were a child actor, but she realizes we don't have enough money for such a thing (her words.) Both girls will be playing indoor soccer for the next couple months and then spring soccer. So Saturday mornings are basically scheduled (for the rest of my life--with small breaks, maybe). Play practice will be Sunday afternoons and maybe during the week at times. And I'll be fitting the gym in there whenever possible, like tomorrow evening! Yay step class!

Here's to a busy and productive 2011!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Got Cake?

I want to share a few songs. I'm starting with an old favorite band of mine. I love Cake, especially the twangy, sappy stuff, which is odd since I don't like Country music. I also love the harder, darker Cake songs. This song, a cover, is great to rock out to. You know, in the living room, with two little girls jumping around throwing up devil horns? No? You have a different idea of "rock out?" Eh. Too bad for you.

This song was discovered via WTMD.

Happy '11

New Year's Survey
1. How did you ring in the new year for 2010?
Will and I were living at my parents and stayed up with them. I watched TV with mom and dad. Will played video games until it got close to midnight, then we toasted.

2. Who did you kiss at midnight 2010?
Will, of course.

3. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Went to a high school graduation of kids that I'd taught!

4. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did not make a resolution last year. I feel like my birthday is a better more motivated time for making life changes. I just try to make it through the winter.

5. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, but I haven't spoken to that person since then and she lives far away and it makes me sad.

6. Did anyone close to you die?
No, but a student from my school did and that was incredibly sad for the community.

7. What countries did you visit?
Never left the states.

8. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More energy. and a chiropractor.

9. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 27--sister and BIL's wedding--woohoo!
May--moved--first home completely on our own
July--Shared birthday with daughter who no longer wants to share it with me!

10. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Started teaching in a delicate situation, but made the absolute best of it and ended the school year successfully.

11. What was your biggest failure?
Any time I was impatient with my kids and husband.

12. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Seasonal affective disorder got bad enough to require medication

13. What was the best thing you bought?
very comfy jeans from the thrift store

14. Whose events required celebration?
Weddings, birthdays, Christmas

15. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

16. Where did most of your money go?
Living expenses.

17. What did you get really, really, really excited about?:
My house!

18. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Anything Regina Spektor... on the radio uh oh!

Are you:
a) Happier or sadder?

b) Thinner or fatter?
Fatter... that's what carbs and 1.5 years away from the gym will do

c) Richer or poorer?
Richer in the most important way: financially. Just kidding. It's great living near family again!

19. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Playing games with my kids.

20. What do you wish you'd done less of?

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
Yes, with a school.

22. How many one-night stands?
Looks like this is geared to the young and the single (or swingers of any age).

23. How many people did you kiss?
Oh gosh, three people daily, a few others on occasion.

24. What was your favourite TV program?
The Office, Parks and Rec, Community

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?:
No, I don't hate anyone. Period.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Time Traveler's Wife

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Yeah, I don't really have time for that these days. But I did listen to a lot of Pandora, and thumbs- upped every Regina Spektor I heard.

28. What did you want and get?
A row-house with hard wood floors, a finished basement, three bedrooms and 1.5 baths! YAY!

29. What did you want and not get?
To join a pool.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Eh, I watch so many movies through Netflix, but don't really follow the movies of the year.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I believe my age on here is anonymous. Don't want to give too many clues, you know. But, I had all family over for my birthday because it's also my youngest daughter's birthday and she turned 5. I turned a very nice age. Have I said it in this blog? I'll have to do a search.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Wow, I'm extremely satisfied with the past year.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Wear jeans as often as possible and be comfortable even if in slacks.

34. What kept you sane?
In all seriously, I lost my shit last winter. So, Zoloft. Zoloft kept me sane. This year I'm hoping exercise keeps me even more sane.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Michele and Barack Obama

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Obamacare... I want it soooo bad!

37. Who do you miss?
My grandmother. My babies as actual babies.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Hm, having moved in '09, I met more new people that year. But, I love meeting new students.

39. Who were your closest friends in 2010?
Hubby, sister, mother.

40. What are you doing to ring in 2011?
Hanging at home with my family. Then New Year's day at my parents.

41. Who do you plan on kissing to ring in 2011?
Will and any child still awake. Heck, even if they aren't awake, they're gettin' kissed! Ha!

42. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010: